Reducing indoor air pollutants and toxic chemicals
in hospitals
- The contribution of hospital flooring -
Martin Duske
Manager Market Segment Health Care and Sustainability, Europe
nora Systems GmbH, Weinheim, Germany
Contact: [email protected]
London, September 11, 2013
Study on Healthy and Sustainable Flooring
by Health Care Without Harm
Study on Healthy and Sustainable Flooring
by Health Care Without Harm
“The ideal resilient flooring
is non-toxic throughout its
life cycle, practical
(hygienic and easy to
clean), durable, safe, silent
underfoot, visually
pleasant and costeffective.”
Practical experience
Hazardous and toxic chemicals
Indoor air pollution
Underfoot comfort
Installation problems
Expensive and difficult cleaning
Life Cycle Costs
“The cheapest product turns out to be the most
expensive option over life time”
Topics of this presentation
• Avoiding toxic chemicals and emissions
– Criteria
– Certification systems and eco labels
– Alternative options
• Products’ surfaces and their impact on cleaning and
– Systems available
– Cleaning and maintenance impacts
– A chemical – free cleaning and maintenance option
Avoiding Toxic Chemicals and Emissions
• Consider the overall environmental impact of
manufacture, use and disposal, including any use of
toxic chemicals
• Eliminate materials that use, emit or lead to
production of hazardous chemicals
1. Avoiding Toxic Chemicals and Emissions
Avoiding hazardous chemicals during lifetime
• Avoid materials known or suspected to contain
carcinogens, mutagens, reproductive or
developmental toxicants (CMR’s), endocrine
Avoiding hazardous chemicals during lifetime
• Avoid any material emitting volatile or semi-volatile
organic compounds (VOC’s, SVOC’s), e.g.
• VOC’s Formaldehyde, solvents e.g. benzene, toluene,
xylene, emitting fast in the first days
• SVOC’s: phtalates and halogenated flame retardants,
can attach to dust particles and emit slowly over the
EPD’s to 14025 give detailed documentation
US Group Kaiser Permanente Replacing PVC by
Eco certification of flooring
• BREEAM, BRE Class A+
only Formaldehyde,
no other criteria
• Greenguard children and
VOC’s, Ammonia, etc.
(California 1350)
• M1 Finland
ammonia, aldehydes
and smell
• French emission label
VOC’s, Formaldehyde
Eco certification of flooring
Blue Angel Germany – RAL UZ 120
Criteria for resilient flooring:
• Lowest levels of TVOCs and VOCs
• Confirmed absence of carcinogenic, mutagenic and
reprotoxic substances as to EU regulations
• Additional limits for other relevant substances to highest
requirements (e.g. LCI list)
• Absence of halogens and phthalates
of any kind!
No PVC floors possible with Blue Angel label!
Testing Standards
Chamber Test
Chamber Test
… but chamber tests alone are very theoretical,
aspects of practical use are not sufficiently considered!
Additional criteria: The installed floor
Working Group in Finland (University of Kuopio 2007) finds
– Emission rates of volatile organic compounds (VOC)
and ammonia measured from six PVC materials and
four adhesives in the laboratory were compared to
the emission rates measured on site from complete
structures. Significant higher specific emission rates
(SER’s) were generally measured from the complete
structures than from individual materials….The
contribution from adhesives used in the installation
was clear.
Additional criteria: the installed floor
Working Group in Finland (University of Kuopio 2007)
“The testing of complete structures would also in
general provide a better approach to evaluate the
actual emissions from the combined materials.”
Summary: Avoiding Toxic Chemicals
• Ecolabels can help to prove criteria of safety and
• The most relevant labels should be chosen, the
German Blue Angel offers the most complete criteria
• However, Ecolabels are based upon lab tests only,
practical experience is lacking
• Package testing and certification is recommended to
evaluate the actual emissions of the combined
2. Products’ surfaces and their impact on
cleaning and maintenance
Cleaning & Maintenance
Linoleum surface
PVC surface
Rubber surface,
Source: Dr. Jürgen Schmiegel, Piepenbrock (Facility Management Company /Germany);
April 2011
“Permanent” surface protections
Typical damages
Surface protections cracking or worn off ….
Traditional floorings require stripping and
Stripping and coating means
using highly alkaline chemicals
to remove old coatings and to
apply a new layer of coating
This process is repeated regularly
and requires
- interruption of use of the rooms
for at least 24 hours
- aggressive chemicals that cause
disposal problems
- high cleaning and maintenance
New comparative flooring study
Investigation on Material and
Bacteriological Characteristics of
Resilient Flooring Materials
Period: 05.05.2011 – 29.2.2012
Prof. Dr. Kurt Schilcher et al.
Report: DI (FH) Markus Hochleitner
New comparative flooring study
• Evaluation of cleaning
• Testing of stability of surface
protection and other product
• Testing of bacteriological
New comparative flooring study
• Manual mopping with neutral
• Machine cleaning with neutral
• Machine cleaning with diamond
pads (without chemicals, only
New comparative flooring study
Testing different types of flooring with
different cleaning methods over 6
- PVC with PU coating
- Linoleum with surface finish
- Rubber floors without protection
Development of thickness of protections
Thickness of protective layers after 5 months: all coatings have disappeared
Type of coating
Lino 1
surface finish
Lino 2
surface finish
Area 1: manual cleaning w. chem.
Area 2: machine cleaning
w. chem.
Area 3: nora pads w/o chem.
Bacteriological Tests
Escherichia Coli Bacteria
noraplan norament Lino 1
Staphylococcus Aureus
Lino 2
noraplan norament Lino 1
Recovery rates after cleaning obtained by set-off tests:
no significant differences between flooring and cleaning methods
Lino 2
Teachings from this study
• Surface protections have a very short life time on floors in a hospital
environment. Life time shortens even more if machine cleaning is applied
• Surface protections and finishes are not suitable for diamond pad
• Once a protection or finish has been worn off, protective measures are
required to obtain satisfactory cleaning results. Especially Linoleum floors
need such protection to avoid subsequent deterioration
• The uncoated surfaces of the tested rubber floors show excellent cleaning
behavior under all tested cleaning methods
• Bacteriological investigations show especially that the chemical free
cleaning method with diamond pads on rubber floors is at least as
suitable as other methods where chemicals are used
• As to cleaning results the diamond pad cleaning system gives high
satisfaction and also options to obtain glossy or mat surfaces
Diamond Pad Cleaning in LNK Linz
Since May 2013 this hospital is maintaining the new rubber
floors nearly without chemicals!
Diamond pad cleaning (nora pads)
A chemical free cleaning method that requires only water
Suitable for all cleaning machines
Can be combined with manual mopping and disinfection methods
Developed originally for ceramic floor and specifically adapted for nora rubber
floors (not suitable on coated or porous floor surfaces)
Cleaning a 12 year old rubber floor – only with
This floor was never stripped before
Rehazentrum Judenburg Straßengel, Austria
noraplan plus 8 years old, surface before cleaning
noraplan plus 8 years old, surface after cleaning
Rehazentrum Judenburg Straßengel
Buffing with nora Pad 1
LKH Judenburg
Without chemicals
LKH Judenburg
Mat without chemicals
Long-term effect of diamond pad cleaning on rubber
Long term test
Medium value before the test
Without Pad
Low spot
Long-term effect of diamond pad cleaning on rubber
After the test: reduction of roughness
After 10 years simulation
(3600 cycles)
Environmental Impact of Diamond Pads
Diamond Pads
Damage assessment including
Diamond Pads
Environmental Impact of Diamond Pads
assessment of
consumables only
Diamond Pads
Summary: Cleaning and Maintenance
• Most resilient floors on the market come with a
factory-applied protective layer of PU or other and /
or require regular renewal of this layer
• Coatings of all kinds have a limited life time that
depends on use, intensity of traffic and cleaning
• Uncoated materials with closed surfaces such as
quality rubber floors are more easy to maintain, also
with diamond pads
• Diamond pads do not require chemicals, just water
Reducing indoor air pollutants and toxic chemicals in
hospitals - Summary
• With adequate testing and eco-labelling it is possible
to obtain non-toxic flooring materials
• Package testing is an additional tool to avoid toxic
emissions from complete structures
• Floor cleaning methods and renewal of coatings may
imply the use of aggressive chemicals
• Alternatively, the closed surface of certain types of
floors allows to reduce chemicals to a minimum,
even with diamond pads cleaning is possible with
water only

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